Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Out of China

  • "In England Samuel Pepys noted in 1660 of drinking a 'China drink of which i never had drank before,'" quotes Matia Elena Vidal — When Tea Came to England. She reports that "in Britain it became particularly popular when Catherine of Braganza being a clear lover of tea brought it into fashion once she married Charles II of England. Apparently she brought a casket of tea as part of her dowry, and the court ladies readily adopted tea as a daily treat and so in turn it replaced ale, coffee, and wine as the most favorite national drink. "

  • "Ten thousand years ago, people in southern China began to cultivate rice and quickly made an all-too-tempting discovery — the cereal could be fermented into alcoholic liquors," writes Nicholas Wade, quoted by Steven Sailer — "Adventures in Very Recent Evolution". "Carousing and drunkenness must have started to pose a serious threat to survival because a variant gene that protects against alcohol became almost universal among southern Chinese and spread throughout the rest of China in the wake of rice cultivation," Prof. Wade writes. "The variant gene rapidly degrades alcohol to a chemical that is not intoxicating but makes people flush, leaving many people of Asian descent a legacy of turning red in the face when they drink alcohol."

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.